Castalia girl inherits father's love of two-wheel dirt racing
Most dads can expect a tie or a power tool on Father's Day.
All Castalia's Keith Hansen wants is his daughter to win her next race.
Hansen's daughter, Britany, 12, is a motocross dirt bike racer.
For the last six years, she's been competing with -- and often winning races against -- riders nearly twice her age.
Keith is a single dad who's been the custodial parent since he and Britany's mother, Ernestine, divorced in 1997.
"She was with her mom for years, but she called me up one night and said she wanted to come live with me. She couldn't stay there no more," Keith said of the 2005 conversation with his daughter.
Britany still spends time with her mom, but she spends most of her time traveling the East Coast with her dad, competing in races and enjoying the great outdoors.
"We're just like two peas in a pod," Keith said.
Said Britany, "We're together every weekend and he spends a lot of money on me and it's really fun."
Keith has loved dirt biking since he was a child.
He and Britany have bonded through their love of motocross since Britany was 6, when she watched a family friend ride.
"She started just riding (a dirt bike) around in the yard," Keith said. "She had been riding a month or two and then she started competing against 5-8 year olds. She ended up getting second place overall her first time out."
Since then, Britany has become renowned throughout Castalia and Margaretta Township, picking up several local sponsors and becoming a national rider for her first full year in 2007.
This year, she hopes to qualify for the Loretta Lynn Amateur Motocross Nationals, the largest amateur dirt bike race in the world, July 30 - Aug. 4 in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.
Britany competed in a regional qualifying race this month, but took ninth place after crashing on the final lap.
The last qualifying race takes place June 23-24 in Shippensburg, Pa.
On Father's Day, Britany and her dad will spend time together at a race in Galion.
Britany said she plans to give her dad a racing shirt that matches one she already owns.
There are a lot of bad fathers out there and Keith is proud to say he's not one of them.
"I love my kid to death. I'd do anything for her. That's all I know."
Britany said when she grows up, she wants to be a professional motocross racer and she wants her dad to continue following her around the country.
While most daughters spend their childhood hearing "stay away from those boys" and "always do your best," Britany is used to hearing a different kind of advice from her dad.
"He says rubber side down, tread side up and not to crash."
Keith admits it's not always easy watching his little girl driving a bike at more than 50 mph while she leaps up to 70 feet in the air.
The sport is not without injuries.
"She had a bad concussion last year," he said. "A week before that, they thought she broke her femur and her pelvis ... she was wanting to race the next week."
Keith says his daughter still needs sponsors from the Sandusky area.
Britany is sponsored by Bellevue's J&H Concrete, K-100 Fuel Treatment, Castalia Flooring, Castalia Flower Shoppe, Riedy's Body Shop, Lynch Construction in Clyde and Sandusky's Victory Honda.